UYGUR: Well, we‘ve got Democrats finally fighting back against that rigged game and leaders in Congress are off and running with President Obama‘s call to get rid of big oil tax subsidies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he will hold a vote on the issue as early as next week. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is calling on Speaker Boehner to schedule a vote, as well. So here come the Democrats.
My next guest has been at the forefront of the fight to eliminate taxpayer subsidies for big oil and gas companies, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts. He‘s the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee and also serves on The Energy and Commerce Committee. Congressman, great pleasure to have you here.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you. Thanks for having me on again.
UYGUR: Great to see you. So, John Boehner looks like all of a sudden he‘s flip-flopping a little bit, can‘t decide if he‘s in favor or against these oil subsidies. It looks like you guys got him on the run. How do you force a vote on this? How do you get people to concentrate on this issue above all others?
MARKEY: Well, I think it‘s not going to be that hard. I think as the oil companies report the largest profits of any companies in the history of the world over the next week, which they‘re doing right now from BP through ExxonMobil through all of them. I think there‘s going to be an outrage that is pointed towards these oil companies who continue to ask for tax breaks to stay on the books. So, I think that subsidizing an oil company to drill for oil right now, as consumers are being tipped upside down at the gas pump would be like subsidizing a bird to fly or a fish to swim. You just don‘t have to do it. And I think we are going to find a way of forcing a vote on this issue in the very near future.
UYGUR: Yes. When I go to get gas now, and it cost me 60 bucks to fill up my wife‘s tank, and I think we‘re giving away $4 billion of our money to these oil companies, it‘s insanity, right? But look, the reason you are is because the Republicans keep blocking it, right? That‘s just the reality of it. They do it over and over again. Some Democrats, as well, but the entire Republican Party. So, I‘m asking, does John Boehner work for the oil companies?
MARKEY: Well, you know, historically, GOP has stood for gas and oil party. And today is no different than any other time over the last couple of generations. Moreover, the republican budget cuts the wind and solar and clean energy budget by 70 percent. And cutting the CFTC budget to be able to go after speculators, find these bad guys out there who are jacking up the price by just, you know, playing games in the market, they‘re cutting that budget in half, so you have cops on the beat in the financial market place. And they are also opposed that appointment of this strategic petroleum reserves. So, if you put it all together, you don‘t need to be Dick Tracy to realize that it is the Republican Party which sides with big oil and as a result with OPEC, keeping us on this agenda of oil and stopping us from moving to a new generation of clean technologies that would, over the long-term, make it possible for us to tell OPEC we don‘t need their oil anymore than we need their sand.
UYGUR: Congressman, you know, the oil subsidies drive me crazy, that‘s why we do the whole ring game thing given away the four billion. I got that. But as far as reducing gas prices, what‘s the best way to attack that issue?
MARKEY: That‘s a good point. The Saudi Arabians took 800,000 barrels of oil off of the market in the last couple of weeks. We‘ve lost 1.2 million barrels of oil from Libya. The price of gasoline has a result is skyrocketing. The best thing we can do to speak to the Saudis, to speak to the speculators, to speak to Libya would be to deploy the strategic petroleum reserve. That‘s why we have the 730 million barrels of oil.
MARKEY: If there was ever a time for us to deploy it, to scare the living daylights out of the speculators, to tell the Saudis and to tell those who have banking on Libya continuing to be a mess, that‘s the best thing that we can do and we should do it as soon as possible because our economy is in jeopardy if we don‘t.
UYGUR: All right. Congressman Ed Markey. Thank you so much.
MARKEY: Thank you.
UYGUR: We‘ll be right back.